Nepal | July 05, 2020

Nepal unlikely to eliminate malaria by 2022

Himalayan News Service
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Kathmandu, April 24

Nepal has set the target to eliminate malaria by 2022, but due to the open border with India, lack of budget and human resources, the government is unlikely to meet its target within the deadline.

The country has been successful in reducing cases of local malaria over the years, but the cases of imported malaria continue to rise in the country.

According to the World Health Organisation, Malaria is caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.

The annual report made public by Epidemiology and Disease Control Division shows that 1,387 persons were diagnosed with malaria in the fiscal 2017/18. Of the total number, 557 were diagnosed with malaria transmitted by local mosquito, while 830 persons were diagnosed with imported malaria.

In the fiscal 2016/17, the number of malaria cases reported was 1,128. Of them, 492 were cases of local malaria and 636 of imported malaria.

Director at EDCD Dr Bibek Kumar Lal said malaria cases were not only being imported from neighbouring country India, but also from African countries, that have an estimated 90  per cent of the global malaria cases.

Dr Lal also shared that lack of adequate budget and skilled human resources mainly contributed to increasing number of malaria cases in the country despite government’s continuous efforts in eliminating the disease.

“Local governments have been given the responsibility for operating programmes related to malaria control and surveillance, but they have failed to implement the programmes effectively due to lack of human resources and budget,” he said, adding that most of the local levels had not given priority to the programmes handed over to them by the federal government.

Earlier, the government had appointed vector control inspectors and malaria inspectors in all the districts, and also provided training to them.

“But with the implementation of federal system, these inspectors have not been mobilised by any government bodies. In such situation, how can we meet our target?” he asked.

The Global Fund under the Global Health Security programme provides fund for eliminating diseases like AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. However, in recent years, it has also significantly reduced the budget allocated for malaria control.

The government has also reduced the budget for EDCD from this year.

 


A version of this article appears in print on April 25, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.


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